The Ministry for Agriculture Livestock Forestry Fishery and Biosecurity (MALFFB) has entered a Public Private Service Agreement (PPSA) with two local institutions to MASS produce seedlings which will be distributed to disaster-hit communities.

The Vanuatu Agriculture Research Institute (VARTC) will produce coconut, fruit trees and spices seedlings by August 2020, while the Vanuatu Agriculture College (VAC) is engaged to produce eighty thousand seedling trays by June 2020.

When signing the PPSA on Thursday 17th April 2020 in Santo, the Director General for MALFFB Moses Amos reiterate the fact that re-planting fallen trees and crops must start now instead of waiting for imported food to sustain livelihood for the next quarter.

DG Amos added that linkages with existing institutions is Extremely important because when we continue to hand out rice and canned food, we are creating another disaster known as non-communicable disease.

The PPSA with VAC will see VAC produce 80,000 vegetable seedlings which will target mainly Luganville and peri-urban areas as well as rural communities. Other islands can have direct access to seeds supplied by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

The VARTC will produce a number of fruit tree seedlings including 150,000 coconuts, 4000 cocoa, 4000 coffee, 50,000 citrus and 50,000 spices (that is Vanilla and Pepper). These seedlings will target replanting of fruit trees in the four Northern provinces affected by TC Harold.

DG Amos also acknowledge the presence of the Luganville Mayor Patty Peter who witnessed the occasion. Amos called on the mayor to consider a temporary measure whereby residents of Luganville can be allowed to raise backyard gardens and livestock or fishery in order to redress household protein supplement.

The PPSA was signed with CEO of VAC Peter Napwat and the acting CEO for VARTC Steglar Tabi.

DG Amos called on these two institutions to ensure they deliver within the timeframe of the agreement because at the end of the day, this agreement is not to promote the ministry nor the department.

“The PPSA must be delivered efficiently and effectively for the purpose of our people,” DG Amos emphazised.

The DG concluded by calling on all his staff throughout the country that at this critical time of disaster, all MALFFB staff must ensure that these “services be delivered effectively to produce maximum impact on the lives of our people”.

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